Culture Wars/Current Controversies

From memes to race war: How extremists use popular culture to lure recruits

Not everything labeled as “extremism” is a good idea, but as Caitlin Johnstone says, “pro-system” views are never considered to be “extremism.”

By Marc Fisher, Washington Post

The first images of “The Last Battle” seem designed to rile people on the conservative side of the culture wars: public nudity, strippers, children dressed in drag — symbols of a society supposedly in a moral free fall.

Then the online video pivots to more extreme material: quick-cut scenes of attacks on White people, bogus allegations of election fraud and a parade of pictures purporting to show “the Jewish Communist takeover.”

The six-minute video, distributed on gaming platforms and social media, rapidly reveals itself as a visually arresting propaganda piece — a recruiting tool for far-right extremists that draws viewers in with “They’re coming for your guns” and “They’re opening your borders” and then hits them with “They’re humiliating your race” and “Defend your race.”

The far-right groups that blossomed during Donald Trump’s presidency — including white supremacists, self-styled militias and purveyors of anti-government conspiracy theories — have created enduring communities by soft-pedaling their political goals and focusing on entertaining potential recruits with the tools of pop culture, according to current and former members of the groups and those who study the new extremism.

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